Paul van Dyk: Biography of the DJ and Producer

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Born December 16th, 1971 in Eisenhuttenstadt, East Germany, Paul van Dyk learned to love music through the radio. He began to experiment as a DJ and build a reputation for his producing and mixing skills as he worked with many different artists. He soon began spinning regularly at big name clubs in Europe and then toured the world. Van Dyk's international fame continued to grow as he released mix compilations and Grammy-nominated studio records. His music has also appeared in many types of media projects. In this video, takes a look at the life and career of Paul van Dyk.

Early Musical Interest

Matthias Paul, otherwise known as Paul van Dyk, was born on December 16th, 1971 in Eisenhuttenstadt, Germany. While growing up in communist East Berlin, he was exposed to different musical genres by listening to the radio, and this sparked his interest in music.

Deejaying and Early Collaborations

In the 1980s, Van Dyk began to experiment with turn tables. He deejayed at the techno nightclub Tresor in 1991 and started spinning at various Berlin clubs soon after. He then began collaborating with electronic artist Cosmic Baby under the name The Visions of Shiva. Their first singles were released by the independent label Masterminded for Success Records.


In 1993, van Dyk released his first DJ-mix compilation and made remixes for several artists. He came out with his electronic dance music debut 45 RPM the next year.

First Successes

Van Dyk had his first real taste of success with the release of his second album Seven Ways in 1996. This trance effort was compiled by MFS founder Mark Reeder, and was released on Deviant Records. It gave van Dyk several singles on the British and German dance charts.

“For an Angel”

In 1998, a remix of the track “For an Angel” was released as a tribute to techno nightclub E-Werk, where van Dyk previously held a residency. The song was originally found on his first effort 45 RPM and this version hit numerous charts around the globe, and topped the UK Dance chart. Another reworked version of the track was released in 2009.

International Recognition

At this time, van Dyk was becoming more internationally known. He soon became resident DJ at Gatecrasher nightclub in Sheffield, England. He also continued remixing for other artists, such Binary Finary, and released more remix compilations.

Third Album

His third album Out There and Back dropped in 2000 via his record label VANDIT. This melodic trance disc featured “Tell Me Why (The Riddle),” and that song reached the seventh position on the UK Singles chart.

“The Politics of Dancing” and Touring

The popular DJ released his mix compilation The Politics of Dancing in 2001. He then spent time touring around the world and went back to recording in 2003. That year saw the release of the CD and DVD set Global and the Mexican fantasy adventure movie “Zurdo,” for which he wrote the soundtrack.

Grammy Nomination

Van Dyk’s fourth studio album Reflections also came out in 2003. The trance record featured more pop influences and was nominated for a Grammy Award. Songs from Reflections have appeared in a variety of formats, such as movies, television shows, advertisements and video games.

Mixes, Albums and Performances

2005 saw the release of the trance mix album The Politics of Dancing 2. Up next was 2007’s self-produced electronic dance album In Between. It charted on the Billboard 200 and was supported by a world tour.

Remixes and Collaborations

Throughout the rest of the decade, van Dyk continued to remix the work of other artists, collaborate with other musicians and contribute to various projects. It was also announced that VANDIT would be working with Armada Music, which was the label cofounded by Dutch trance producer and DJ Armin van Buuren.


Van Dyk released his next album Evolution in 2012.

Dance Music

Though he is also involved with political and social causes, Paul van Dyk is known first and foremost for his mixing and producing skills. As one of electronic music’s most successful artists, this DJ will undoubtedly continue to attract massive crowds as long there are fans who want to dance.